Sedentary behavior, depressed affect, and indicators of mental well-being in adolescence: Does the screen only matter for girls?

J Adolesc. 2015 Jul:42:50-8. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2015.03.014. Epub 2015 Apr 21.


The study investigated the effects of sedentary behavior (SB) on mental well-being and examined differences between screen-based (sSB) and non-screen-based sedentary behaviors (nSB) separately by gender. In a total sample of 1296 students (609 girls) aged 12-17 (m = 13.7, SD = 0.67), SB, depressed affect, self-esteem, physical self-concept, general self-efficacy and physical activity were assessed through self-administered questionnaires. Among girls, lower scores in self-esteem, physical self-concept as well as general self-efficacy were associated with higher sSB but not nSB. Among boys higher levels of sSB related to higher self-esteem, nSB but not sSB predicted higher scores in depressed affect, and there was a u-shaped association between sSB and general self-efficacy. Results replicate the inverse association between SB and mental well-being, and suggest a distinction between nSB and sSB especially among girls. Additional studies will be necessary to replicate, and further examine mediating mechanisms.

Keywords: Adolescence; Mental well-being; Screen time; Sedentary behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Image
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires